Will Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey Really Leave Grey's Anatomy?

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Patrick Dempsey recently said that the upcoming eighth season of Grey's Anatomy is likely going to be his last. But is there any chance he could be back beyond that?

He didn't sound like it when he said that leaving would be “bittersweet because it’s been great and a great part of my life, but I can’t see me doing it anymore.”

Still, a rep for the actor backtracked a bit late yesterday.

"He was referring to the fact that his contract is up at the end of next season and we have no idea what the future holds," Dempsey's rep tells E! News.

In the Bed

So while there's still the possibility that Dempsey will hang up his stethoscope in 2012, especially if Ellen Pompeo packs it in, nothing is set in stone yet.

"No one has asked us to come back after season eight, so I couldn't presume that I'm coming back... if I haven't been invited," Pompeo said last week.

The long and short of it is that the original cast is only under contract through May 2012. Beyond that, a new deal must be offered - and agreed to.

The cast members would be free to go their separate ways summber, and having spent seven years on (and banked millions from) Grey's, they may do so.

The show certainly has a lot of characters at this stage, but are Derek and Meredith (and Cristina, among others) crucially central to Grey's Anatomy?

Put another way, would the show lose viewers without them? Or would newer stars be able to step in and carry the baton for many seasons to come?

Leave a comment and discuss below ...

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.